Novavax: A risky but potentially lucrative vaccine play

If it weren't for the swine flu, vaccine-maker Novavax (NVAX) may have remained in the somewhat obscure realm of small clinical-stage biotechs. But the H1N1 pandemic and the vaccine shortage that ensued propelled this $330 million market capitalization company to broader awareness after it proposed a novel way of manufacturing the vaccine that gets around the age-old method of growing the virus in chicken eggs.

Novavax says its proprietary virus-like particle technology can slash weeks off the time needed to produce vaccine, and it's moving closer to commercializing its flu vaccines.